Midply Dealer Network

Canada Wood has been working on gathering manufacturing partners of Midply panels and making a list of Midply dealer network. We had seminars and held workshops about Midply last fiscal year and understood what kinds of support or improvement are needed to use Midply in buildings. They are classified into three types. The first is to establish structural calculation methods. The second is to improve performances other than lateral strength. The last is to improve workability to install Midply panels to building frames. We had several meetings with panels companies this month in order to resolve workability issues as well as to gather manufacturing partners of Midply panels.

It is not difficult to fabricate Midply panels, but the structure of Midply panels are different from ordinary ones. For that reason, we need to explain Midply panel structures to panel companies and to ensure they understand the differences. So far, so good.

We had accepted registration from three companies this month: Mitsubishi Jisyo Jutaku Kakou Center, Chiba city; Hinokibun, Nagoya city; Taihei housing, Kaji city. We will continue this in- channel activities and expand the Midply dealer network.

Large-Scale Wooden Structure in Southern Japan

Recently Kevin Bews (COFI, SPF Group) and I visited a large-scale platform-frame construction job site on Ishigaki Island, Okinawa Prefecture, a tropical island similar to Hawaii. Due to an increase in tourism, from both overseas and domestic tourists, Okinawa has been experiencing a construction boom over the last several years. Although Okinawa has traditionally been a concrete construction market, this boom has also led to an increase in wood construction.

The project we visited is a staff residence for Fusaki Beach Hotel Resort and Villas, a high-end vacation spot near Ishigaki City. The company leading this project is Shinyo Gumi, a construction firm that traditionally constructed concrete buildings. However, 5 years ago they started to focus more on the 2×4 method, constructing 20 homes during that period. Being the only company using the 2×4 method in Ishigaki, they are considered a pioneer in utilizing this construction

The staff residence consists of two 2-storey buildings joined in the middle to form an H-shape. The project has a total floor area of 1,400 m² with a total of 56 rooms, each room 16 m² in size. The structural materials used in this project include Canadian OSB for wall sheathing (9 mm, 3×8) and SPF dimension lumber. When completed on this hot and humid island the building will be the largest scale 2×4 project in the most southern corner of Japan.

Nursing Home Himawari

Nursing Home Himawari is in Yokohama city, about an hour drive south of Tokyo. Construction for this project began in February 2018 and is on schedule to be completed and open in May 2019. It is a large 180 room senior multi-care complex that includes a nursery for care staff’s children within the facility. This building is a hybrid platform-frame structure that sits on a concrete podium with a total floor area of 8,345 m². The first floor of the building is built out of reinforced concrete and the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors being a 2×4 fireproof structure, consumes approximately 1,200m³ of SPF dimensional lumber in its construction. The wood is supplied by Canadian forest companies.

This facility will be owned and managed by Ikuseikai Social Welfare Corporation and was designed by MEDOX, an architect firm that specializes in designing medical and social welfare facilities. The general contractor for the project was Watanabe Gumi and the sub-contractor for the fireproof 2×4 structure wood structure is Mitsui Home Component. Since, since working with COFI and Mitsui Home on designing a first of its kind 5-storey 2×4/Midply, Seifu-kai elderly care project in Adachi, Tokyo, this is the 10th large 2×4 elderly care facility that MEDOX has designed in Japan over the last five years.

Japan’s First All-Wooden 3-Storey School Building in Toyama

Demand for non-residential wooden buildings has shown significant growth in Japan over the past several years. This trend is apparent with educational facilities. For example, in Uozu City, Toyama Prefecture, a new wooden school building project commenced in December 2015. The proposal committee reached the conclusion that the building should be an all-wood building. This milestone means that the school will be the first 3-storey all-wooden school building in Japan. The total floor area of this building is 4,950.09 m2, exceeding 3,000 m2, where encapsulation of wooden members with gypsum boards is required. However, it was a strong desire for the City Education Board to visually expose the structural members so that the pupils can appreciate the wooden texture.

The architect found the solution by compartmentalizing the building into two zones that are less than 3,000 m2. On January 31st, COFI had a chance to visit the building site with the tour members of Japan Wooden Building Association. The school opened in April 2019.

School Name: Hoshinomori Elementary School Total Floor Area: 4,950.09 sqm
Building Area: 2,956.81 sqm
Total Cost: JPY1,800,000,000 (CAD 21.72 million) Unit Cost: JPY360,000/m2 (CAD 4344/sqm) (approx. 110% of that of reinforced concrete) Number of pupils: 280

Japan Set to Enter the New Era of Reiwa

At the start of the fiscal new year in April, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary proclaimed the name of a new era. The current “Heisei” era under the Japanese calendar will end on April 30th when the Emperor abdicates the throne. On May 1st, Crown Prince Naruhito will ascend to the throne and the new era “Reiwa” will commence. The translation of Reiwa is “Beautiful Harmony”. For the first time in over 30 years, Japan will celebrate a new Emperor with a 10-day extended national holiday, dubbed “super golden week”.

The ascension of the Emperor and extended holiday break has many Japanese in buoyant spirits with retailers, leisure and travel companies geared for a once in a generation celebration. The tourism industry is enjoying brisk sales and major department stores are forecasting a 20% jump in sales. At two thirds’ of Japan’s GDP, the uptick in Japanese consumer spending comes as welcome relief to the slowing global economy.